Flavours of The Spice Coast by K M Mathew, EPUB, 0143029002

November 30, 2017

Flavours of The Spice Coast by K M Mathew

  • Print Length: 120 Pages
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Publication Date: 9 July 2002
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143029002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143029007
  • File Format: EPUB



Mrs K M Mathew

Flavours of the Spice Coast



A Message

The Setting

The Writer








Breakfast Delights

Teatime Favourites

Notes for the Kitchen


Follow Penguin



I am delighted to have the honour of writing this foreword to a cookbook by my dear friend Mrs K.M. Mathew.

Annamma, as Mrs Mathew is popularly known, is a connoisseur of art—be it music, dancing, flower arrangement or food festivals. All those who have enjoyed her hospitality know the culinary excellence she has achieved.

With her moorings in the ethos of Kerala cuisine, Annamma is an ideal hostess who knows the art of reaching out, beyond the table.

I am sure this beautifully crafted book will enrich the young and old whose passion is to entertain with culinary delights.

Best wishes to Annamma.

Kaudiar Palace

15 october, 2001

Mrs K.M. Mathew, famous wife of a famous husband, is a popular figure not only in her home state, Kerala, but at the national level as well. While her name lends itself to many good causes, Mrs Mathew is perhaps best known for her expertise in culinary art, with her recipe books being accorded an Impressive welcome in the homes of many in India and overseas. Over the years she has almost become a household name in this field, with many of her recipes proving to be innovative and interesting. Her range is vast and geared to suit every budget, from the luxurious to the spartan. While many honours have come her way, perhaps the greatest recognition is the unwavering demand for and acceptance of her books. Her success lies in the fact that she has not only introduced very many to the delights of the kitchen, but also delights, mother-like, in cooking up fabulous meals for all those who cross her path.

I am sure that this beautifully brought out book, a gift of love from the family that holds her so dear, will be very well received. Being a pure vegetarian though, I cannot help hoping that some day she will write a totally vegetarian companion to this edition.

I wish her many more fruitful years of active and satisfying life, with the grace of God.

Aswathi Thirunal


The Setting. . .

Middleman to the ancient world, laced by forty-one rivers and a thousand canals, Kerala lies like a jewel fixed to the southwestern coast of India, a 580 kilometre-long stretch. The demand for pepper (often called black gold) and other spices drew traders to this land more than two thousand years ago. Food and flavour, the great levellers, brought international influences to Kerala in the first millennium in the form of peaceful traders from Arabia, Egypt, Greece, Phoenecia, China and the Roman empire.

Historical evidence shows that Apostle St. Thomas (the doubting Thomas) converted Hindus in 52 at Muziris (present-day Kodungallur, Kerala). Historians agree that Christians have been here for fifteen centuries. Muslims have evidence of a mosque in Kerala even before the death of Prophet Mohammed. Jews have lived here since the first century

. The descendants of all these denominations have lived side by side with Kerala’s Hindu majority for generations, creating a cosmopolitan state.

Goods from South India had reached the Middle East as early as the third millennium when, stimulated by the Roman demand for exotic goods and the discovery of the monsoon winds by Greek sailors (about

45), ships serving Rome began to sail from the Horn of Africa to Kerala in five weeks’ time. This shifted the focus of the spice trade from North Indian ports and land routes to Muziris, which the Roman historian Pliny called ‘the first commercial centre of India’.

Indian and Malay merchants pushed eastwards, collecting silk and cinnamon from China and precious stones and tortoise shells from Indonesia, to be loaded onto Greek and Persian ships at Muziris, which was positioned midway along the spice route between the Roman Empire and China.

More than a thousand years later, the lure of spices and luxury goods attracted a new crowd of merchant adventurers to South India: the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, and finally the English. They too left behind their cultures, languages and ideas.

It was trade and food that launched Kerala in the hospitality business and today, the state is one of the world’s favourite destinations.

The Writer. . .

About fifty years ago, a Malayalam newspaper sandwiched a recipe for mutton between reports on prime ministers Nehru and Churchill. The six-inch recipe column which appeared in a June 1953 edition of Malayala Manorama, had only a mustard-sized byline: Mrs Annamma Mathew. But it marked the advent of a remarkable epicurean who was to inspire millions of Malayali women to cook well and cook sensibly–for the writer was actually Mrs K.M. Mathew, who was almost singlehandedly responsible for taking the flavours of Kerala’s dim, smoke-filled kitchens to glamorous dining rooms across the world.

It was almost the first time that a recipe was appearing in print in Kerala, and the dish she prescribed in meticulous detail had the aroma of novelty. After this she went on to offer recipes, ethnic and exotic, in a regular media column, ‘Pachaka Vidhi’, which, like well-made wine, only Improved with age. Over the years she compiled her writings into more than twenty cookbooks, all best-sellers both in and outside her home state.

Her larder of ideas was always brimming over, and her recipes for the myriad new dishes she Invented sprung from her conviction that nutritious food need not necessarily be rich and expensive. For example, she experimented with an ordinary and abundantly available root like the humble tapioca and gave it a place of honour on the dinner table.

Cooking was a dull chore in sooty Kerala kitchens before Mrs Mathew’s delicious experimentations; her writings elevated cooking into an exciting experience for a large number of women. The new skills and knowledge worked wonders for their confidence and self-esteem, and if something else was cooking, it was women’s liberation.

Mrs Mathew further shaped women’s sensibilities as the founder editor of Vanitha, the first Malayalam publication exclusively devoted to women. It virtually redefined the identity of Malayali women, encouraging them to be fearless and independent and at the same time to be caring and nurturing and, most importantly, vocal about their feelings. Founded in 1975, the magazine showcased women’s aspirations and achievements and its popularity has ever been on the rise; it is the best-selling women’s magazine in India and boasts a fortnightly circulation of 3,69,220 copies. Today Vanitha has a Hindi edition too. In this sense, Mrs Mathew was a pioneering feminist publisher.

Her work in journalism fetched Mrs Mathew a number of awards, including the Vigjanadeepam Puraskar (1994) instituted by the Ponnara Sreedhar Foundation and the Nlrmithi Kendra Award (1996) by a state-run organization that initiated a housing revolution in Kerala. In 1992 she was conferred the Rachel Thomas Award for her outstanding contribution to social and cultural causes.

When not wading through journalistic copy or stir-frying something at the numerous cooking classes she organized out of sheer love for the art, Mrs Mathew guided the Kasturba Social Welfare Centre in Kottayam, which conducts vocational courses, art classes and study tours. Her relaxations were playing the violin and guitar and listening to Carnatic music.


1 Mutton Chops

2 Mutton Kurma

3 Mutton Red Curry

4 Meat Pattichu Varathathu

5 Meat Oolarthiyathu

6 Meat Stew

7 Spicy Curried Dumplings

8 Easter Chicken Roast

9 Chicken Piralen

10 Trivandrum Chicken

11 Ellu Chicken

12 Duck Curry

13 Duck Roast

Mutton Chops

You will need :

1 500 gms tender mutton, on the rib

2 salt to taste

3 ½ cup water

4 ¼ cup refined vegetable oil

5 ¾ cup onion, finely chopped

6 ½ tsp garlic paste

7 ½ tsp ginger paste

8 ¾ tsp chilli powder

9 ½ tsp pepper powder

10 ¼ tsp turmeric powder

11 1 dsp lime juice

12 ½ tsp cumin seeds

13 2 cloves

14 2″ cinnamon

15 1 cardamom pod

To serve 5

Method :

1 Wash and clean the mutton. Cook on low fire with salt and ½ cup water. Drain the mutton and reserve a cup of stock.

2 Heat oil in a skillet, add chopped onion and fry till well browned.

3 Add garlic and ginger paste and fry to a golden colour.

4 Mix ingredients 8 to 10 with a little water to make a paste and add to the fried ingredients. Fry well.

5 Add the meat and brown well.

6 Pour in the stock and lime juice, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

7 Powder items 12 to 15 and add the powdered ingredients to the mutton.

8 When the gravy thickens remove from heat. Serve hot.

Mutton Kurma

You will need :

1 ¾ kg mutton

2 1 cup hot water

3 2″ cinnamon

4 1 tsp cloves

5 1 tsp cardamom pods

6 salt to taste

7 ½ cup refined vegetable oil 8 ½ kg onions, sliced

9 1 cup ghee

10 2 dsp garlic paste

11 2 dsp ginger paste

12 1 tsp coriander powder

13 ½ tsp turmeric powder

14 1 tsp chilli powder

15 2 tsp aniseed

16 ¼ kg tomatoes, chopped

17 1 cup curd

18 a handful of coriander leaves

19 4 green chillies, slit

20 ¼ cup cashewnuts

21 ½ cup coconut, grated

22 lime juice to taste

To serve 5

Method :

1 Cut the mutton into medium-size pieces. Trim away the excess fat and wash well.

2 Cook the mutton with 1 cup hot water and ingredients

3 to 6. Cover with a deep lid containing water on top. Reduce heat and cook at a gentle simmer till the mutton is tender and the stock is reduced to one cup. Remove from heat and keep aside.

3 Heat oil in a pan and fry the sliced onions, stirring frequently. Walt till they turn a golden brown Remove from heat and keep aside.

4 Heat the ghee in another pan. Fry the garlic and the ginger paste one after the other.

5 Grind ingredients 12 to 15 to a paste. Add this to the fried garlic ginger paste. Fry well.

6 Add the chopped tomatoes. Fry well until the of separates. Add curd, coriander leaves, green chillies, fried onion and cooked meat with the spice and the stock. Mix well. Cover with a lid.

7 Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes till the meat pieces are blended well with the gravy

8 Grind the cashewnuts and the grated coconut into a fine paste. Blend this paste into the curry and mix well. Add lime juice and salt to taste. Remove from fire. Serve hot.

Mutton Red Curry

You will need :

1 1 kg mutton

2 2 dsp chilli powder

3 1 tsp coriander powder

4 1 tsp mustard seeds

5 ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds

6 ½ tsp cumin seeds

7 1 tsp ginger, sliced

8 1 tsp garlic cloves

9 1½ dsp vinegar

10 ½ cup refined vegetable oil

11 2 cups onion, finely sliced

12 250 gms ripe tomatoes, finely chopped

13 salt to taste

14 3 cups hot water

To serve 10

Method :

1 Wash and clean the mutton. Cut into medium-size pieces.

2 Grind items 2 to 8 with vinegar into a paste.

3 Heat oil, sauté sliced onions and add chopped tomatoes. Fry well and add the ground paste.

4 Fry on low flame till the oil rises to the surface. Add the meat pieces and salt. Mix well.

5 Add 3 cups hot water to cook the meat.

6 Cover the vessel with a deep lid containing boiling water. This will help the meat to cook well.

7 Keep on low heat and simmer until the gravy starts thickening.

8 Once the meat is cooked, remove from fire and serve warm.

Meat Pattichu Varathathu

You will need :

1 500 gms of any red meat

2 1 dsp chilli powder

3 1 dsp coriander powder

4 ¼ tsp turmeric powder

5 ¼ tsp pepper powder

6 6 garlic cloves, sliced

7 ½ tsp aniseed

8 2 cloves

9 1″ cinnamon

10 1 dsp vinegar

11 ½ tsp ginger, chopped

12 salt to taste

13 2 cups hot water

14 2 small potatoes, diced

15 1 tsp garlic cloves

For the seasoning :

1 2 dsp coconut oil or any cooking oil

2 ¼ tsp mustard seeds

3 2 dsp button onions, sliced

To serve 5

Note :

If you are not a habitual user of coconut oil, substitute with any oil.

Method :

1 Wash and clean the meat. Cut meat into large cubes.

2 Grind into a paste ingredients 2 to 9. Marinate the meat with the ground paste, vinegar, chopped ginger and salt for an hour.

3 Cook the meat in 2 cups hot water. Cover the pan with a deep lid containing water. This water will help cook the meat as well as ensure that it does not get charred.

4 When the meat is tender, add the potatoes and garlic.

5 When the potato is well cooked and the gravy has thickened, remove from fire.

6 In another pan, heat coconut oil and add mustard seeds.

7 When it splutters, add the button onions.

8 When the button onions are browned, add the meat mixture.

9 Fry till dry, taking care not to let the potato pieces crumble.

10 When the masala leaves the sides of the pan, remove from heat and serve hot.

Meat Oolarthiyathu

You will need :

1 1 kg mutton or chicken

2 ¾ dsp chilli powder

3 1 dsp coriander powder

4 ½ tsp turmeric powder

5 ½ tsp peppercorns

6 ½ tsp cumin seeds

7 1 tsp aniseed

8 2″ cinnamon

9 3 cloves

10 2 cardamom pods

11 ½ cup button onions, sliced

12 8 garlic cloves

13 2 tsp ginger, sliced long

14 a few curry leaves

15 ½ cup coconut, sliced thin and small, smeared with salt and turmeric and fried

16 1 dsp vinegar

17 salt to taste

18 1 cup hot water

For the seasoning :

1 ¼ cup refined vegetable oil

2 1 tsp mustard seeds

3 2 dsp onion, finely chopped

Method :

1 Wash and clean the meat. Cut into medium-size pieces.

2 Grind into a paste ingredients 2 to 10.

3 Cook the meat, adding the ground paste and ingredients 11 to 18. After the meat is tender and coated with a little gravy, remove from fire.

4 Heat oil, splutter mustard seeds, and fry the onion. Stir in the meat and fry well until dry.

To serve 10

Meat Stew

You will need :

1 1 kg mutton or chicken

2 3 potatoes

3 ¼ cup refined vegetaPle oil

4 1 cup onion, sliced

5 1 dsp garlic, sliced

6 1 dsp ginger, sliced

7 6 green chillies, slit

8 2″ cinnamon

9 6 cloves

10 4 cardamom pods

11 1 dsp peppercorns

12 a few curry leaves

13 2 dsp vinegar

14 salt to taste

15 2 cups thin coconut milk

16 ¾ cup thick coconut milk

To serve 10

Method :

1 Wash and clean the meat. Trim the fat. Cut into pieces.

2 Peel and cut the potatoes into wedges.

3 Heat the oil in a pan, add ingredients 4 to 12 and gently fry until soft and golden.

4 Add the meat and fry gently.

5 Add vinegar, salt and the thin coconut milk.

6 When the meat is half cooked, add the potato wedges.

7 Cover the pan with a well-fitting lid and cook until the meat is tender.

8 When the gravy has reduced in quantity, add ¾ cup thick coconut milk and bring to Poil. Remove from fire and serve hot.

Spicy Curried Dumplings

You will need :

For the dumplings :

1 ½ kg minced meat

2 1 tsp chilli powder

3 2 dsp coriander powder

4 ½ tsp turmeric powder

5 ¼ tsp pepper powder

6 ¼ tsp cumin seeds

7 2″ cinnamon

8 2 cardamom pods

9 ½ tsp aniseed

10 2 dsp button onions, finely chopped

11 ½ dsp green chillies, chopped

12 ½ dsp ginger, chopped

13 ½ dsp garlic, chopped

14 salt to taste

For the gravy :

1 ¼ cup refined vegetable oil

2 ¼ cup onion, sliced

3 ¼ tsp garlic, sliced

4 1 tsp ginger, julliened

5 4 green chillies, slit

6 2 cups thin coconut milk

7 1 dsp vinegar

8 salt to taste

9 a few curry leaves

10 ½ cup thick coconut milk

Method :

1 Wash and clean the minced meat.

2 Grind items 2 to 9 to a fine paste for the masala.

3 Mix together the minced meat, the finely chopped button onions, green chillies, ginger and garlic with 2 tsp of the ground masala and salt and shape into balls.

4 Heat oil and sauté the sliced onion, garlic, ginger and green chillies.

5 Add the remaining ground masala and fry well until the oil separates.

6 Add the thin coconut milk, vinegar, salt and curry leaves.

7 When the gravy begins to bubble, gently drop in the prepared meat balls.

8 Continue cooking until the meat is tender and the gravy has reduced in quantity.

9 Add the thick coconut milk, bring the curry to boil and remove from the fire. Serve hot.

To serve 5

Easter Chicken Roast

Method :

1 Wash and dry chicken inside and out. Grind items 2 to 5 to a fine paste. Add salt and vinegar.

2 Rub well over the chicken. Marinate in a covered bowl for three hours.

3 Heat oil in a deep pan and brown the chicken over low heat, turning it over occasionally to ensure even cooking.

4 Pour hot water over the meat and cook till tender.

5 When tender, remove the meat from its gravy and set aside.

6 Cook the gravy until it thickens and the oil separates.

7 Drain the excess oil, return the chicken to the pan and cook over low heat until it is well coated with the gravy.

To serve 6

You will need :

1 1 whole chicken

(remove liver and kidney)

2 ½ tsp turmeric powder

3 1 tsp chilli powder

4 2″ cinnamon

5 6 cloves

6 salt to taste

7 1 dsp vinegar

8 2 dsp refined oil

9 1 ¼ cup hot water

Chicken Piralen

You will need :

1 1 kg chicken

2 1½ dsp coriander powder

3 1 dsp chilli powder

4 ½ tsp turmeric powder

5 ½ tsp pepper powder

6 ½ tsp cumin seeds

7 1″ cinnamon

8 8 cloves

9 4 cardamom pods

10 1 tsp aniseed

11 ¼ cup button onions, sliced

12 1 dsp garlic, chopped

13 ½ dsp ginger, finely chopped

14 salt to taste

15 1 dsp vinegar

16 a few curry leaves

17 ½ cup hot water

18 ¼ cup refined vegetable oil

Method :

1 Wash and clean the chicken. Cut into pieces of desired size.

2 Grind into a paste ingredients 2 to 10.

3 Blend the masala into the chicken pieces. Add ingredients 11 to 16.

4 Add hot water to cook the chicken. Turn heat low, cover and cook until chicken is tender.

5 When it is cooked and the gravy has thickened, remove from fire. Separate the chicken pieces from the gravy.

6 Heat oil.

7 Add the chicken pieces and fry until brown.

8 Pour the gravy over and fry until the chicken pieces are coated with It.

9 Serve hot.

To serve 10

Trivandrum Chicken

You will need :

1 1 kg chicken

2 3 dsp chilli powder

3 1″ ginger, chopped

4 10 garlic cloves

5 10 button onions

6 1 dsp aniseed

7 2 dsp lime juice

8 ¼ tsp red food colouring

9 4 dsp rice flour

10 ¼ kg coconut oil

To serve 10

Note :

Coconut oil tastes better, but any other cooking oil can also be used.

Method :

1 Wash and clean the chicken. Cut Into large pieces and make gashes in it.

2 Grind into a paste ingredients 2 to 6.

3 Add the lime juice and colouring to the ground paste and rub the chicken pieces with it.

4 Keep in a cool place for four hours.

5 Sprinkle the rice flour over and fry the chicken pieces in hot coconut oil.

6 The residue of the fried flour should be drained and sprinkled on the chicken pieces. Serve hot.

Ellu Chicken

You will need :

1 1 kg chicken

2 2 tsp garlic, chopped

3 2 tsp ginger, chopped

4 6 green chillies

5 1 tsp peppercorns

6 1 tsp turmeric powder

7 2 dsp lime juice

8 salt to taste

9 2 cups hot water

10 2 eggs, beaten

11 1 cup bread crumbs

12 3 dsp white & black mixed

13 sesame seeds

14 oil to fry

For the gravy :

1 1 tsp butter

2 1 tsp rice flour

Method :

1 Wash and clean the chicken. Cut into ten pieces.

2 Grind into a paste ingredients 2 to 6. Add lime juice and mix the chicken pieces with the ground paste.

3 Add salt to taste and cook the chicken in hot water. When the chicken is cooked, there should be ½ cup stock left for the gravy.

4 Separate the chicken pieces from the gravy.

5 Dip the cooked pieces of chicken in beaten egg.

6 Coat well by rolling in bread crumbs mixed with sesame seeds.

7 Heat oil in a shallow pan, deep fry the chicken and serve hot with a bowl of gravy.

To make the gravy :

1 Melt the butter. Add the flour and brown. Add the stock and stir to make a gravy.

Note :

Try using the same recipe for mutton chops.

To serve 10 persons

Duck Curry

You will need :

1 1 kg duck

2 2 dsp coriander powder

3 2 tsp chilli powder

4 ¼ tsp turmeric powder

5 2″ cinnamon

6 6 cloves

7 4 cardamom pods

8 1 tsp aniseed

9 4 potatoes

10 ¼ cup refined vegetable oil

11 ½ cup onion, sliced long and thin

12 2 tsp ginger, sliced long and thin

13 8 garlic cloves

14 6 green chillies, slit

15 2 dsp vinegar

16 salt to taste

17 3 cups thin coconut milk

18 1 cup thick coconut milk

For the seasoning :

1 1 dsp refined vegetable oil

2 1 tsp ghee

3 1 tsp mustard seeds

4 2 dsp button onions, sliced

5 a few curry leaves

Method :

1 Wash and clean the duck.

2 Cut the duck into 8 to 10 pieces.

3 Grind into a paste ingredients 2 to 8.

4 Peel and quarter the potatoes.

5 Heat the oil, add the sliced onion, ginger, garlic and green chillies and fry well to a golden brown.

6 Add the ground paste and sauté.

7 Add meat, vinegar and salt.

8 Stir for 5 minutes to blend all the ingredients.

9 Stir in the thin coconut milk, cover the pan with a well-fitting lid and cook the duck.

10 When the duck is done, add the quartered potatoes.

11 After the duck and potatoes are cooked, add the thick coconut milk and remove from fire.

12 Heat the oil and ghee.

13 Splutter the mustard seeds and gently fry the sliced button onions and curry leaves.

14 Add this seasoning to the curry.

15 Serve hot.

To serve 10

Duck Roast

You will need :

1 1 kg duck

2 2 dsp coriander powder

3 2 tsp chilli powder

4 ½ tsp turmeric powder

5 1 tsp peppercorns

6 1 tsp aniseed

7 2″ cinnamon

8 9 cloves

9 2 cardamom pods

10 8 garlic cloves

11 1″ ginger

12 1 dsp vinegar

13 salt to taste

14 2 cups hot water

15 3 potatoes, parboiled and quartered lengthwise

16 2 dsp ghee

17 ¼ cup refined vegetable oil

18 ½ cup onion, sliced, soaked in salt water and squeezed dry

19 1 cup thick coconut milk


The southwestern coast of India, famous for its spices, has been a cultural melting pot for two thousand years. Jews, Muslims and Christians, merchants and missionaries came and stayed, adding their influences to the region’s culture and cuisine. The traditional produce of the coast is the base for a diverse range of dishes. Vegetables like yam and tapioca, fruits like coconut, mango and banana, and, of course, a feast of fish and prawn are combined in new and interesting forms. Written over a period of nearly fifty years by Mrs. Mathew, these wonderful recipes draw upon the rich heritage of Kerala food. They combine the traditional and the innovative, vegetarian and non-vegetarian, creating a collection to suit every palate and every pocket. There are traditional Kerala favorites like Appam with Stew and Parotta with Kurma Curry, as well as popular snacks like Banana Chips and Murukku. From street corner specialties like Trivandrum Chicken to the more adventurous Fish with Mango, or even Meen Pollichathu (Fish Roasted in a Plantain Leaf), this book is sure to add many a new dish to your repertoire.


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